Books on Old Ammanford

As Ammanford was once part of the very much older parishes of Llandybie and Betws, much of its history will be found in the history of these two localities. Betws and Llandybie may have remained villages while Ammanford has become the dominant town the area, but they both still retain a strong sense of their own identity.

Below are just some of the books written on Ammanford, the Amman Valley, Betws and Llandybie. Many other books written on these subjects were written in Welsh.

Most of theses books will be no longer in print but should be available in the reference sections of some local libraries, particularly those at Carmarthen or Llanelli.

AMMANFORD: Origin of Street Names & Notable Historical Records by W T H Locksmith. Published in 2000 by Carmarthenshire County Council as a part of the Millennium celebrations.

An unusual history as it looks at the origins of all the streets of Ammanford along with their notable buildings and people. A history of Ammanford's bricks and mortar, it nevertheless contains a pretty comprehensive history of the town. Although there is little on its mining and industrial past and none on its social or political history, it is the most detailed and comprehensive book on Ammanford to date. For those born and brought up in Ammanford, memories will come flooding back as you browse.

HANES PLWF LLANDYBIE (THE HISTORY OF THE PARISH OF LLANDYBIE). Originally published in Welsh by Gomer Roberts in 1939 and translated into English by Ivor Griffiths. Published privately 2000.

Gomer Roberts was a local miner from the next generation after Jim Griffiths. He studied to become a chapel minister with financial assistance raised by local miners. This history of Llandybie was written as an entry to the 1939 Eisteddfodd History prize in Cardiff (which it won). It was then published in Welsh in book form. Ivor Griffths from Gorseinon has translated this and about a dozen other local history books into English. Although stopping at 1939 it is nonetheless an excellent history of Llandybie and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
      For details of this and other local history books see the website:

AFTER THE MINES. Changing employment opportunities in a South Wales valley by Stephen W Town (Cardiff University Press 1971).

Originally a Swansea University degree dissertation, this is a thorough sociological study of employment in Ammanford and the Amman Valley up to 1971. Plenty of statistics.

BETWS NEW DRIFT MINE. By Dr. John Dorian Evans, 2005.

A history of Betws New Drift Mine from its development in 1974 to closure in 2003, written by one of its former miners. "This book attempts to document the history of Betws New Drift Mine. The significance of the pit is that it was the last drift mine sunk by the National Coal Board to produce anthracite coal in Wales ... The book has been written and compiled so that it can be of interest to a wide range of readership. What became evident in compiling the book was the passion and deep commitment that people once involved in the industry have, even now that they have no involvement with the industry." (Dr John Dorian Evans)

BETWS MAS O'R BYD (BETWS BEYOND THE WORLD). Published by Betws History Group (2001).

A history of Betws from the old stone age to the present day written by local people from the village itself as a millennium project. All proceeds from sales will go to fund a library for the children of Betws Primary School.

JIM GRIFFITHS: "Pages from Memory" (J. M. Dent, 1969), The autobiography of Betws born Jim Griffiths MP (1890-1975), the first ever Secretary of State for Wales. Most of the book is about his political career after leaving Ammanford but the early chapters are an invaluable source about life in Ammanford in the early part of the 20th century .

DAVID: A film of Ammanford miner and poet David Rees Griffiths (Amanwy) made in 1951 and rarely shown since. It is available now on both video and DVD. Running time 72 min.

PDC2021 - DVD: £19.99
PDC1033 - VHS: £16.99

Prices include P&P worldwide.

Clich HERE for more ordering details:

Amanwy (David Rees Griffiths, 1882 - 1953) was the brother of Jim Griffiths above. The film David reflects the character of a community in the life-story of one man. It is both set and filmed in Ammanford and Amman Valley Grammar School, and is acted almost entirely by local people. The film was shown 22 times in Ammanford in 1951 and it brought Amanwy some fame and recognition. The central role is played by Amanwy himself, an ex-collier, now school caretaker who, as Dafydd Rhys, portrays his own life.
      The zest for life, the love of poetry and music, and the steadfastness of the Welsh miners in times good and bad, shine through the tragedy which stirkes Rhys, in this view of Wales in the first half of the 20th century. All Welsh life in seen in this drama: the mines and railways; daily life in the towns; and the National Eisteddfod of Wales at Aberavon where Rhys enters his poetry. This film was made for the Welsh Committee of the Fesitval of Britain 1951 and it is now, fifty years later, a valuable document of life in Ammanford in bygone days.
      In a supporting programme, community life is shown in Face of Wales (also known as Cardiff) around 1961, and Miners' Weekend from 1948, showing the relish with which the men of the Neath and Dulais valleys take to their weekend of leisure.

CWM AMAN. A collection of essays (written in Welsh) on the Amman valley edited by Hywel Teifi Edwards (Gomer Press 1996).

This is part of a series on Welsh valleys entitled "Cyfres y Cymoedd" (The Valley Series). Written in Welsh.

A HISTORY OF COAL MINING IN THE AMMAN VALLEY. By Ivor Davies, published by the author in 2001 Written by a former coal miner, brass band player and photography enthusiast. This history includes numerous photographs of former mines in the area.
A CARMARTHENSHIRE ANTHOLOGY. Edited by Lynn Hughes Published by Christopher Davies, 1984. Republished in paper back in 2003. An anthology about Carmarthenshire, past and present, by authors as diverse as Dylan Thomas, hymnists, and writers at the time of the Roman occupation. It includes several entires on Ammanford and is well worth the read.
LLANDEILO-VAWR AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD; PAST AND PRESENT. By W. Davies. Published 1858, Llandeilo A history of Llandeilo up to 1858. Originally published in 1858 and reprinted by Dyfed County Council in 1993.
CANU'R PWLL A'R PULPUD: PORTREAD O'R DIWYLLIANT BARDDOL CYMRAEG YN NYFFRYN AMAN". By Dr Huw Walters, (Swansea, 1987) "Songs of Pit and Pulpit: A Portrait of the Poetic Culture of the Amman Valley", which won the Welsh Arts Council Prize and the Sir Ellis Jones Ellis-Griffith, University of Wales Board of Celtic Studies Prize for the best work of literary criticism published in Welsh in 1987.
ERWAU'R GLO, (ie Coal Acres). Swansea: Gwasg Christopher Davies, 1976 An anthology of prose and verse depicting life in the anthracite coalfield, which includes the Amman Valley. Written in Welsh.
DYFFRYN AMAN 'SLAWER DYDD (THE AMMAN VALLEY LONG AGO). By D. A. Evans & Huw Walters, Gwasg Gomer, 1987 Photographs of old Ammanford and the Ammanan Valley.
THE AMMAN VALLEY: A PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT. By Brian Lewis, 1996 More photographs of old Ammanford and the Ammanan Valley
BRYNAMMAN 1889. By M. C. Evans, 1982, The 1889 history of Brynamman, reprinted in 1982 by the Amman V alley History Society Journal, No 2. Privately published.
A HISTORY OF CARMARTHENSHIRE (2 vols). By Sir John E.Lloyd, (Ed.), 1939. Cardiff, London, Carmarthenshire Society Authoritative history of the County of Carmarthenshire to 1939.
RCAHM 1917: AN INVENTORY OF THE ANCIENT MONUMENTS IN WALES AND CARMARTHENSHIRE: Vol V, County of Carmarthen. HMSO. London. List of sites in Carmarthenshire, surveyed by the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments (RCAHM).
HANES BRYNAMAN A'R CYLCHOEDD (2nd edition). By E. Rees, 1898 . Reprinted by Dyfed County Council Cultural Services Department. Another reprint of an earlier history of Brynaman and district.
ST. CATHERINE'S CHURCH, BRYNAMMAN. By V. P. Roberts, 1981 "A Brief History to Commemorate the Centenary of the Construction and Dedication of the Church". Privately published booklet.
THE OLD PARISH CHURCHES OF SOUTH-WEST WALES. By M. Salter, 1994. Folly Publications. Malvem. Includes churches in our locality.
PANTYLLYN BONE CAVES. By A. Stepney-Gulston, 1893. Archaeologica Cambrensis, Vol.X 5th series, 163. The discovery of 12 ancient skeletons in a cave in Carmel Woods in 1813.
"THE GOOD OLD DAYS". By B. Thomas, 1973. Privately published.
Notes and Jottings on Llandybie, Llandeilo, Ffairfach
and the Amman Valley.
"DAYS OF OLD". By B. Thomas, 1975 Llandybie Notes and Memories. Privately published.
HEN GYMERIADAU PLWF Y BETWS. By D. T. Thomas, 1894 Ystalyfera. The Welsh of the title means: Old Characters of the Parish of Betws.
GOLDEN GROVE AND JEREMY TAYLOR (1613 -1667). By J. H. Wood-Griffiths, 1950. Privately published. The mansion and estate of Golden Grove (Gelli Aur) near Llandeilo.
FFORDD Y GLOWR, CWMTWRCH. By R. S. Jones, 2002.. Cambrian Archaeological Projects, Llanidloes. "The Miners Way", Cwmtwrch. Archaeological Desk-top Assessment and Field Survey
DINEFWR HISTORIC SETTLEMENTS REPORT. By P. Sambrook,1995. Dyfed Archaeological Trust The historical sites of the former Borough of Dinefwr.
A HISTORY OF WALES. John Davies, Allen Lane/Penguin 1990 Single volume history of Wales. Originally published in Welsh as Hanes Cymru. Published in English in 1990.

These are the two journals of local history for Carmarthenshire. The Antiquary has been published since 1904 and the Historian since 1962. Although both are subscription only journals, back copies are available in the reference sections of Llanelli and Carmarthen libraries for consultation only.
CHURCH AND CHAPEL HISTORIES Most of the local churches and chapels have produced booklets to commemorate various anniversaries, such as their fiftieth, hundredth and even older, which should be available from the individual chapels and churches.
ROLL ALONG, AMMAN UNITED, ROLL ALONG – The first 100 years Centenary history of local rugby club Amman United, published in 2003.
This site takes you to a wealth of links to books, archives, censuses, parish records – everything in fact you’d need for local history and genealogical researches. The site contains lists of local history books written in English, Welsh and translations from the Welsh.
ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS OF WELSH PARISH HISTORIES. A list of translations from Welsh into English by Ivor Griffiths which are available for purchase.

This is a list of books translated from Welsh into English by the late Ivor Griffiths, who died in February 2006. Copies of these translations as listed below are now available for purchase from his son, Robert Leighton Griffiths.:

History of Llandybie £18.75
Rebecca In Pontardulais (stapled) £12.50
History of Brynamman Including Old Characters of Bettws £13.50
History of Llannon £14.75
History of Llanelli Including History of the Gwendraeth Valley. £11.25
History of Pontardawe £14.25
Old Characters of Gellinudd £12.75
History of Whitland £12.99
History of Llandyssul £17.50
History of the Methodists in Carmarthenshire £21.99
History of the Baptists In Felinfoel £17.50
History of Brynteg Chapel, Gorseinon £13.99
History of Clydach Including History of The Methodists and History of Ynyspenllwc £13.99
History of the Methodists In West Glamorgan £20.00
History of Bethlehem, Pwll, Llanelli £11.88
The above prices are affective from October 2006 and cover photocopying, binding and UK postage.  Overseas postage will cost extra according to weight and destination.

Please make cheques payable to Robert Leighton Griffiths, 8 Maesteg, Pontarddulais, SA4 8PW

EMAIL TO: . Telephone 01792 882481

BOOKS ON WELSH COALMINING AND COLLIERIES, by Ray Lawrence. A series of books covering the entire South Wales coalfield with brief histories of 2,700 coal mines as well as the pre-nationalisation coal owners. The books are a series of volumes on the separate regions and can be ordered online by clicking on

Date this page last updated: February 24, 2011